MEMORIES are the currency of our lives and often, when it comes to the past, we like something tangible to hold onto. It is a subject I have thought about a lot in recent weeks while embarking upon an industrial scale burst of spring cleaning.

Last autumn I wrote about my messy, junk-filled spare room and afterwards received several messages from readers, including one where the sender talked about their own experiences of decluttering and how they managed to unpick the tangle of why we hang onto certain things.

That sense of attachment is a hugely individual thing. I have ruminated on this in the months since, periodically popping my head round the door to survey the gargantuan mountains of stuff.

Is it sentimentality? Is it practicality? Is it prepping for an apocalypse in which I envisage myself turning a hodgepodge of random objects into a tank or a helicopter like a scene from The A-Team?

In truth, the possessions we gather, big and small, build a bridge arching between the different chapters in our lives. I imagined someone else casting an eye over the spare room. What would they make of it? How would they catalogue the flotsam and jetsam I have amassed?

When I departed Scotland for my first job as a trainee reporter in the south-east of England - a quarter of a century ago this summer - all my worldly belongings fitted into two suitcases. They could now fill a large articulated lorry.

A few years back, I watched the Netflix home makeover show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo in which its titular star would ask her clients to pick things up, hold them and decide whether or not they “spark joy”.

Dubbed the “KonMari Method”, the idea is that anything that speaks to your heart goes into the keep pile, with non-joy sparking objects retained only on a strict criteria of merit. Or as she puts it: “Cherish the items that bring you joy and let go of the rest with gratitude.”

While, on the surface, it seems like a sage and simple solution for separating the wheat from the chaff, not everything is this clear cut. Human emotions are complex. Joy can sometimes be tinged with melancholy.

I have a bottle of aftershave that belonged to my late father. When I remove the cap, the distinctive scent is an instant connection. One that makes me feel close to my dad yet, at the same time, serves as a stark reminder of how long has passed since I last saw him.

So, that stays. But for every important memento there are myriad items I don’t need. And inch by inch, I’m steadily reclaiming the spare room. I wish I had the tech savvy to have done a time-lapse video of me sifting through it all.

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Armfuls of clothes were removed from dusty storage bags and sorted into stay, donate or recycle bundles. I did have a bit of a giggle at some of the alleged “fashion” garments I had accumulated over the years.

A long, black skirt that makes me look like a stern Victorian nanny. Eclectic headwear ranging from a bashed-up fedora to glittery deely boppers. Naff slogan T-shirts. Lurid floral dresses that could pass for curtains. A neon-hued gingham swimsuit. The list goes on.

Next up were small appliances and gadgets, many broken or outdated - including several lamps, a hairdryer, kettle, electric blanket, printer and countless sets of mangled headphones - that had been languishing in boxes. Hasta la vista.

Initially, I fretted that I would wake at 3am, bathed in the cold sweat of regret. The truth is, I slept like a log. Holding onto things may seem comforting but letting them go is like being in a hot air balloon, ditching the sandbags and feeling yourself soar. I can highly recommend it.